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Financial Times Reports On Challenges NGOs, Development Agencies Face When Partnering With Businesses

The Financial Times reports on some of the challenges non-governmental organizations and development agencies face as they grow more accustomed to partnerships with businesses.

Though the “idea of organisations such as the U.N. forming partnerships with businesses was [once] unthinkable. Things have since moved on,” the newspaper writes. “Now, multinational corporations are developing everything from fortified foods to low-cost toiletries, while also working to include more low-income communities, such as smallholders, in their supply chains.”

The article continues: “The shift in corporate motives from philanthropy to long-term profitability is the first challenge for the global public sector when working with business. … Agencies also need to strike a balance between harnessing private sector innovation and scalability and being seen simply to be burnishing the image of corporations and helping them increase their profits.” NGOs and agencies also often face “operational obstacles [that] can slow progress on projects done jointly with the corporate sector.”

The piece highlights several groups that have been successful at overcoming some of the challenges associated with working with businesses, and includes comments by a former U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state and representatives from the U.N. World Food Program and the United Nations Global Compact, “the U.N.’s voluntary corporate citizenship network” (4/28).